BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ At what was called a "bittersweet" occasion, retiring Library Director Ruth Lufkin was honored at a public reception at the Bernards Township Library on Sunday afternoon, while the public also had an opportunity to meet the new library director, who is already on the job.

Lufkin was meeting and greeting visitors outside of the library's meeting room with her successor, Lyn Begraft, by her side.

Lufkin has been a fixture at the Bernards Township Library for almost 25 years, with her first position one she shared with another mother as a senior library assistant.

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Lufkin, a township resident, held other positions before she was appointed as the library director in January 2012.

Asked how she would like her tenure as library director to be remembered, Lufkin said, "What I would like to be remembered for is [making] this a welcoming place."

Lufkin is scheduled to officially remain on the job through Dec. 31.

Begraft, the new library director, comes from nearby Long Hill Township, where she was library director as well. "I am very honored to have been chosen," Begraft said. 

Begraft arrived at the Bernards Library on Nov. 4, and added she is grateful for transition time spent with Lufkin in going over important aspects of running the library.

Visitors left comments in a book, as well as enjoying refreshments at the reception hosted by the Friends of the Bernards Library, with the library staff and Bernards Township Library Board of Trustees participating.

"I think it's bittersweet any time you have to say goodbye," said Joseph Esposito, who is the Township Committee's liaison to the library trustees board. As a patron, he said he also appreciates the great services provided by the library.

The reception also drew Rosalie Baker, a friend and colleague from the neighboring Bernardsville Public Library, who said she had known Lufkin since both took their children to story times at the Bernardsville library. Baker, retired as technical services librarian in Bernardsville, said she and Lufkin had attended library school together.

"We are going to miss her -- she's terrific," said Leslie Workman, formerly on the library Board of Trustees.

Those at the reception were also introduced to Begraft, who was appointed by the Library Board of Trustees in September. She has been Long Hill Township's library director since early 2016, and has more than 20 years of library experience, according to the announcement.

“The Board of Trustees was extremely impressed with Lyn’s qualifications and enthusiasm. She understands the importance of customer service and is eager to get to know our library and its patrons," Zina Pozner, library board president, said in the announcement made at that time.